Quentin Anciaux wrote:
> Hi,
> 2009/1/14 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com 
> <mailto:meeke...@dslextreme.com>>
>     Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>      > 2009/1/14 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com
>     <mailto:meeke...@dslextreme.com>> wrote:
>      >
>      >> However a Turing machine is not just a set of states, it also
>     requires a
>      >> set of transition rules.  So in the same abstract way that the
>     integers
>      >> are ordered by "succession" the computational states of a Turing
>     machine
>      >> are ordered.  Whether just abstract rules, without
>     implementation, are
>      >> sufficient isn't clear to me.
>      >
>      > In an actual physical computer the transition rules are
>     represented by
>      > the causal links between the states, so that a particular input will
>      > reliably give rise to a particular output. But I return to my
>     question
>      > about what would happen if there were a discontinuity in a
>     sequence of
>      > states, so that s1 to s10 on m1 are causally linked, s11 to s20 on m2
>      > are causally linked, but there is no link between m1 and m2, i.e. m2
>      > just happens to start in s11 accidentally. Assuming that s1 to s20
>      > occurring in a single machine results is a few moments of
>      > consciousness (which is to say, assuming that computationalism is
>      > true), what would happen if the sequence is broken in the way just
>      > described?
>     I suspect something is lost.  You are thinking of the states as
>     abstract steps
>     in a computer program.  But a computer program requires a computer
>     to run and
>     the computer implements distributed spatiotemporal links.  In
>     general you cannot
>     take even a digitial computer and freeze it in a instant of time,
>     call that a
>     state, and restart it without any effects. 
> I do not see a problem with that... a program can be freezed any time... 
> dump the memory to a file

The abstract program, consisting of a set of steps can be stopped at any "time" 
(i.e. at a step), but a computer running a program cannot just be stopped.  
your are contemplating is having the operating system copy the values of 
registers to a some memory file and then stop.

>, on restart, load the dump file to memory, put 
> the instruction pointer at the correct place and you're done. (well in 
> practice it is a little more difficult, but you could do it for *any* 
> program). 

But have you ever cut the power to your computer while it was running? ;-)


>In the situation that Stathis describe, causality is not 
> broken in any way. S1->S10 run in computer 1, dump, reload on computer 2 
> S11->S20 run in computer 2, the causal link is given by the program that 
> compute S1-S20 irrelevant on what physical device it is running on... 
> the causal link is the program and a program is relative to a machine 
> (abstract one). So a computation is the set of a program and the machine 
> that runs it. A state doesn't exists by itself (state of what ?), and 
> this is where Stathis is wrong I think.
> Regards,
> Quentin
>      Switches are in intermediate states,
>     EM waves are propagating, electrons are diffusing - it is not a
>     static thing
>     like a step in a program.
>     In terms of Bruno's teleporter, one might say yes accepting that
>     there would be
>     a one-time gap in consciousness (ever had a concussion?), but one
>     would probably
>     hesitate if the there was to be a gap every 10ms.
>     Brent
> -- 
> All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
> > 

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